Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Colliding Galaxies Spark Supernova Show.(Final)

Byline: John Fleck Journal Staff Writer

When galaxies collide, the sparks that fly are actually exploding stars, according to new work by a New Mexico astronomer.

Using the Very Long Baseline Array, Socorro astronomer Jim Ulvestad and his colleagues took the most detailed pictures ever made of two colliding galaxies, showing what they are calling a "supernova factory," the likes of which has never been seen before.

The astronomers saw the supernovas -- exploding stars -- when they pointed their telescopes at a pair of colliding galaxies seen in the Big Dipper, Ulvestad said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Nashville, Tenn.

They were hunting for a nearby example of a process that must have been much more common in the early universe, Ulvestad said. …

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